In defense of Creativity

9:32 PM

I grew up around creativity. My parents are both extraordinarily creative individuals and the phrase "artsy- fartsy" has been applied to my family on multiple occasions. So my pursuit of the creative began early. Theatre and music was my outlet of choice and I saw myself doing those things as more than a hobby once I achieved "grown up" status. But somewhere along the line I lost that desire for an artsy life. It seemed far fetched and unrealistic. I spent the first two years of college trying to figure out what major I could tolerate for two more years that would still get me a decent job. I chose communications for it's practicality and I've found that I'm not just tolerating it. I'm excited about it! It's no longer a battle to convince myself to go to class at 9am. I'm enamored by what I'm learning, but I'm also realizing that the classes I love the most aren't the classes that are teaching me "practical" and "realistic" skills. They're the classes that encourage me to be creative. And not just creative in the "write this academic research paper on what ever your heart desires" but "use your hands to make something awesome"! I'm taking a class on aesthetic theory and it's a dense class, but all we do is discuss art. How do we define it, how do we evaluate it, and how are Christians supposed to look at art? I love it! First thing in the morning, it sets my mind in this attitude of "you can be artistic today" because there's no one to tell me that art isn't practical. 

We read an essay for that class by Janine Langan called The Christian Imagination and in it she talks about the importance of cultivating our imaginations. We often think that we need to deal with reality and practical matters before we can reward ourselves with a little imaginative thinking. We see it as extra and unnecessary. In reality our imagination and ability to be creative is what set us apart from the rest of creation. One of my favorite quotes from the essay is:
"A Christian imagination does not see the world as a prison from which the soul must escape, but as the stage of humanity's interaction with its God... it sees reality, not as a horror to abolish, but as an ongoing revelation to orchestrate in praise."
I love that! Our imaginations should not be stifled, but allowed to flourish and express our interpretations of the world. Creativity is not extra and its not superfluous. It is in our nature. God created us as creative beings. So perhaps I won't become an artist, but so many things have been laid on my heat this week about not letting my creativity become a simple hobby that I pick up occasionally. I need to cultivate it and let it grow and see where it takes me.  

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